Monday, February 11

Memory Maker

We do not remember days, we remember moments.  The richness of life lies in the memories we have forgotten. 
- Cesare Pavese

It's really hard to pinpoint our favorite moment, memory or experience.  But if I were to classify them, I would say that one of the highlights in the wildlife category is seeing the animals up close, personal and in their habitat.  We have seen dolphins, whales, sea turtles, parrots, iguanas, lizards, goats, flamingos, spotted eagle ray, eels, octopus, lobster, conch, nurse shark, fish, fish and more fish - just to name a few.  If we had to pinpoint a favorite, it would be dolphins swimming in our bow waves, as we huddle around mesmerized.  We never get tired of watching them because it's always as exciting as the very first time.  Be that as it may, we now have a new favorite after spending time in the Pain de Sucre anchorage in the Les Saintes.
As we dropped the line of our mooring ball outside the harbor of Terre-de-Haut, we were on a quest to find a more secluded anchorage that was a bit less rolly.  We first motored across the harbor to Ilet a Cabrit only to find no place to drop the hook except in 70 feet of water and more mooring balls.  Our next opportunity for quiet seclusion and protection was Pain de Sucre, not far from either harbor.  As we approached the small cove, there were a few other anchored boats and lots of people snorkeling.  Upon our arrival and circling around trying to figure out if it would be suitable to anchor, I spotted something in the water.  What was that?  A turtle?  The snorkelers all seemed to be bunched up and moving simultaneously in the same direction.  Then, all of sudden I saw 2 dolphins gracefully breech the water for a breath of fresh air.  They bobbed in and out of the water as they came to greet us and circled our boat.  OMG!!  We are staying, no question about it!

We had heard from a nice boutique owner in town, that there might be dolphins swimming in this particular cove.  It was a special time of year and they only stay about 2 weeks.  While Craig dropped the anchor, the girls and I scrambled to get our swim suits on and the snorkel stuff out as fast as we could.  Maggie hollered through her snorkel mask "doh' horget da hideo hamera!".

Funny thing about these beautiful creatures is that they are curious, just like we are.  Craig dove down on our anchor to make sure it was set and we wouldn't drag.  As he was down on the ocean floor, he looked over and 4 feet away, there was mama and her baby checking him out, almost as if they wanted to help or learn something about anchoring.  Craig said it was just about the coolest thing he has ever seen.

We have never paid to swim with dolphins at a resort, so I can't really compare.  But I would say that this was 10,000 times better.  First of all, it was free!  Secondly, it was in their natural habitat.  The most precious moments I observed was when mama and baby would rub noses and swim in elegant circles around each other as if to say I Love You!

We hiked up that mountain, Le Chameau.  Pain de Sucre cove to the right.

Entering the cove around this piton

Mama and her baby swimming by our boat as we anchored 

someone else swimming with the dolphins

The whole gang following mama and her baby

They swam back and forth, all around the cove, in between the boats.  They never seemed to venture away from the cove and weren't bothered by all the people.  

The best time to swim with them was late in the day or early in the morning when there were less people.  If I floated real quiet and didn't try to chase them, they came right up to me.  I could also hear them talk in their whistle and clicking sounds.  I could reach out and touch them if I wanted to.  It was definitely a priceless moment!!

Sunset in Pain de Sucre 

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